Before Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center Mitch Kupchak released a statement concerning Kobe Bryant’s comments from Sunday night.
Bryant had stated his desire for the Lakers to either trade Gasol or state their intention to keep him, rather than keeping his name floating in trade rumors. Kupchak’s response was polite, yet simple. Basically, Kupchak stated that he understood Bryant’s position but that it was still his job to do what he can to improve the team.
Following the win over Portland, Bryant responded to Kupchak’s statement.
Kobe on Kupchak statement “dont care. Im done. Said what I had to say”
— Beto Duran (@DuranLA) February 21, 2012
Kobe said the root of his comments last night were to let Gasol know that he & the team value & support him.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 21, 2012
Kobe didn’t speak about Kupchak statement on Gasol, but said about Pau: “At least he knows we all support him.”
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) February 21, 2012
Bryant’s comments aren’t remarkably surprising. He isn’t going to start a war of words with Kupchak or other members of management. His initial comments on Sunday were more out of support for his teammates rather than his displeasure with the front office. If Bryant is expected to be the leader of this team, which he is, standing up for his teammates is something he needs to do. In that respect, his comments on Sunday, as well as those tonight, were perfectly acceptable.